Top 5 Most Obscure Currencies

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With the advent of online buying and selling, most people can easily list the world’s most common currencies. However, there are many currencies that the average American has never heard of. Some countries buy and sell with alternative currencies that only have monetary value in the region in which they were developed. Another obscure currency isn’t even spendable on this planet.

5 Rai Stones

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On the tiny Micronesian island called of Yap, the accepted currency is the rai stone. Rai stones are large round pieces of limestone with a hole cut into the center. The bigger your stone, the more value it has, but rai stones have no value outside of Yap, probably because they’re typically between 5 and 20 feet in diameter and can weigh as much as a small car—not exactly something you can stuff in your pocket. This is why they usually never physically change hands. Your stone might sit in a particular part of the village, but everyone knows you own it. If you buy something, the stone stays where it is, and everyone knows it has been passed to a new owner.

4 QUID

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Can you believe they’ve already thought of how we’ll spend money in space? Well they have. If you travel to the moon, odds are they’ll only take Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, or QUID, the currency designed by the U.K.’s National Space Center and the University of Leicester, because debit cards are not accepted in space. QUID coins are made from the same polymer used in non-stick pans, and they have round edges so they’re less likely to poke out an eye while floating around in zero gravity. You’re laughing, but National Space Centre scientists predict that vacations on the moon are a possibility by 2050, so stop laughing and start saving some QUID.

3 The Chiemgauer

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The Chiemgauer is the currency used in Prien am Chiemsee, which is located in Upper Bavaria. It is a currency that began as a school project by high school teacher Christian Gelleri. The chiemgauer, which has a value on par with the euro, debuted about eight years ago and has become an alternative currency that is viewed as a way of keeping money within the community where it is generated and earned. The chiemgauer is accepted by more than 600 businesses in the region. It’s estimated that about 2,500 people regularly use the currency.

2 The Kekfrank

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In the western Hungarian town of Sopron, the kekfrank is used to buy merchandise. The kekfrank was a currency started by a group of Sopron winemakers who wanted to use the money to boost local trade. It now trades on par with the forint, the Hungarian national currency. The kekfrank is accepted in over 400 area businesses, including eateries, tanning salons and jewelry stores. It is also accepted as legal tender in some stores in the Hungarian capital Budapest as well.

1 Canadian Tire Cash

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Most of the world isn’t aware that aside from funny coins and paper money that isn’t made of paper, Canadians also have an alternate form of currency called Canadian Tire money. This currency began as a promotional coupon program initiated by the Canadian Tire chain of stores in 1958. It is given out as a bonus when purchases are made in Canadian Tire stores or gas stations, and comes in 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, 50-cent, one-dollar, and two-dollar denominations. It was originally only redeemable at Canadian Tire locations, but has since been accepted by other Canadian merchants, including liquor stores and various small businesses. These merchants usually use the Canadian Tire money they receive to purchase business supplies.

Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and local newspapers. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers, and she's published a couple of novels. She views humor and sarcasm like she does bacon and chocolate: there's no such thing as too much.

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